Harvey Weinstein Issues Surprising Plea on Day of Arraignment

June 05, 2018Jun 05, 2018

Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood mogul, entered his plea Tuesday during his arraignment in a New York City courtroom concerning the accusations of rape and criminal sex acts levied against him.

After several women had come forward to accuse Weinstein, 66, of persistent sexual misconduct, the district attorney in Manhattan filed criminal charges based on “forcible sexual acts against two women” in New York, according to NPR

Based on the testimony of one woman, who has not been publicly identified, Weinstein allegedly raped her in a hotel room in 2013. Another woman, an actress named Lucia Evans, said Weinstein forced her to commit a sexual act with him in 2004 while the two were in his office.

Weinstein submitted a plea of not guilty to the two counts of rape as well as the charge of a criminal sex act. His attorney responded to the press following the arraignment as Weinstein ducked into his waiting SUV.

“Mr. Weinstein has denied these crimes,” said attorney Benjamin Brafman. “He has maintained that he has never engaged in non-consensual sex with anyone.”

Weinstein is one of the more well-known media figures who have been the focus of the #MeToo movement, as women across the country have become emboldened to share their stories of sexual abuse at the hands of powerful men across industries.

Last fall, when multiple women came forward to accuse the Hollywood producer over a pattern of sexual abuse lasting decades, Weinstein’s name was one of the first to launch the movement.

Brafman acknowledged last month following Weinstein’s arrest and release after his $1 million bail was posted that his client had engaged in bad behavior, although not necessarily criminal.

“Mr. Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood,” he said. “Bad behavior is not on trial in this case.”

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